Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 221-226

First online:

Psychosocial variables, age, and angiographically-determined coronary artery disease in women

  • Kathryn Graff LowAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Bates College
  • , Courtney FleisherAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Bates College
  • , Rebecca ColmanAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Bates College
  • , Amy DionneAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Bates College
  • , Gillian CaseyAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Bates College
  • , Susan LegendreAffiliated withBowdoin College

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The present study explored the relationship between psychosocial measures and the degree of coronary stenosis in a sample of 59 women between the ages of 39 and 84. Coronary occlusion was correlated with elevated cholesterol and marginally correlated with age and was inversely associated with years of education. Based on hierarchical multiple regression, an interview-based measure of hostility was associated with coronary stenosis after controlling for traditional risk factors, and age moderated the hostility-stenosis relationship. Further a second regression model suggested that trait anxiety was inversely correlated with degree of occlusion, perhaps because low-anxious women are referred for catheterization later in the course of the disease. Contrary to hypotheses, there was no evidence that repression of interview-based hostility or anxiety predicted coronary occlusion. Given the small sample size, results should be considered preliminary. Future studies should explore the degree to which anxiety and hostility are associated with coronary heart disease (CHD) in larger samples of women and the degree to which age moderates the hostility-occlusion association.